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The trees of spring and summer

Ian Sidaway shares his techniques for painting blossom and mixing green as he describes how he met a self-imposed challenge to draw and paint London’s trees
Greenwich Park, SE10, watercolour in Moleskine sketchbook, 8¼ ×10¾in (21 ×27.5cm).

The approach to the Rangers House in Greenwich Park has a wonderful avenue of flowering cherry trees and the explosion of colour is magnificent. Here the canopy of blossom was painted first with the shape of the blossom becoming more distinct in the foreground

As the days lengthen and the temperature begins to rise dormant trees burst into life. Technically, in the UK the first day of spring is March 20 but warm periods earlier in the year can trigger a growth spurt that will be checked by a late frost. I was drawing in St James’s Park in January and several trees were in flower.

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About The Artist

Welcome to our summer issue in which our team of top professional artists and tutors offer a sparkling range of inspirational features to help you create your best work over the summer months. Capture the sparkle of silver light on water with Chris Rose, enliven your watercolours with moving figures with Jake Winkle, use contre-jour for dramatic effect with Jo Quigley, paint spring and summer trees in watercolour with Ian Sidaway, or a coastal scene in acrylics with Paul Talbot-Greaves. Julie Collins goes back to basics with a look at colour theory and pigments, Ann Witheridge suggests using an extended palette for portraits, Amanda Hyatt offers a variety of tricks to help you produce better watercolours and there is a host of exercises to try throughout the issue. All this and much more, plus don't forget to enter this month's summer sketching challenge set by Adebanji Alade on page 46, for a chance to win a £50 voucher to spend on art materials with GreatArt!